Boys Basketball: Morgan Park deals Larkin first defeat
By Erik Jacobsen firstname.lastname@example.org December 8, 2013 5:06PM
Larkin's Charles Sanders puts up a shot in front of Morgan Park's Charlie Moore on Saturday in Elgin. | Brian O'Mahoney/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 8, 2013 7:19PM
Morgan Park couldn’t have asked for a much tougher start to its season than the one it faced Saturday night.
Playing without its best player on the road against an up-and-coming Larkin team in the final game of the Mac Irvin Classic was the challenge facing the Mustangs, and the defending Class 3A champions answered the call with an 84-82 overtime victory in Elgin.
Lamont Walker’s rebound and putback with 1:01 left in the extra session proved to be the winner as Morgan Park survived without star forward Josh Cunningham, who was sidelined due to asthma, according to coach Nick Irvin.
Kalin Harris finished with 23 points and Walker added 20 points and 13 rebounds for Morgan Park (1-0). The outcome spoiled a big night from Royals guard Derrick Streety, whose game-high 27 points wasn’t enough to keep Larkin (5-1) from tasting its first defeat.
“This is a big win for us coming into a hostile environment,” Harris said. “We are used to being in situations like this from last year.”
Streety was responsible for sending the game to overtime as he took a pass from Kendale McCullum and drilled a three-pointer with four seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 74.
The clutch shot seemed to swing momentum squarely in favor of the Royals as they surged to an 80-76 lead with 2:50 left in overtime, but the back-and-forth affair had one final turn as Harris and Walker combined to key an 8-2 run down the stretch for Morgan Park.
Larkin had three shots to tie it in the final seven seconds, but Streety’s off-balance attempt from the top of the key came up short of the rim, Christian Negron’s putback try was blocked and Kendale McCullum’s shot at the buzzer rolled in and out to seal the outcome.
“It was tough to tell the guys because I don’t like to lose, but on Dec. 7, it’s not about wins and losses,” Larkin coach Deryn Carter said. “We’re leaving the gym a heck of a lot better basketball team than when we walked in.”
Drew Jones (17 points) and Kendale McCullum (11 points) joined Streety in double figures for the Royals. Freshman Christian Negron added eight points and four blocks.
Torry Johnson (17 points) and Marcus Johnson (10 points) helped with the scoring load for Morgan Park, which did its coach proud in the last of five games on the day at the inaugural event named after his father Mac Irvin, an AAU basketball pioneer in Chicago who died of diabetes two years ago.
“This means a great deal,” Nick Irvin said. “This was for my pops. We love him, we put on a great event for him and we’re going to keep it going forever because pops lives forever.”